NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — There’s promising news for organ transplant recipients and those on the waiting list.New York City Rolls Out $100 Incentive For Getting Vaccinated As CDC Report Warns Delta Variant As Contagious As Chicken Pox
Gillian Ladd received a new kidney and pancreas three years ago, so she’s been especially cautious during the pandemic.
“I’m already compromised and I’ve already been navigating the world in a much more cautious way,” she said.
Transplant patients take medications to suppress their immune systems to prevent rejection, which can impair their responses to vaccines.
Ladd got two doses of the COVID vaccine, then came disappointment.
“I had not mounted any measurable antibodies,” she said.READ MORE: Why Is The Delta Variant More Contagious? Should You Still Get Vaccinated? Dr. Max Gomez Answers The Latest COVID Questions
She took part in a study at Johns Hopkins Medicine tracking 30 transplant patients receiving a third dose of the vaccine. The booster increased antibody levels at least somewhat in all patients.
“A glimmer of hope that we will be able to achieve an immune response in immunosuppressed people,” transplant surgeon Dr. Dorry Segev said.
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But life-saving transplants can’t happen without organ donations, which plummeted at the start of the pandemic.
Now, Dr. Amy Friedman, the chief medical officer for the organ procurement organization LiveOnNY, says donations are back up, partly for surprising reasons.
“We’ve become a lot smarter about COVID infection, coronavirus infection, and we also have many more complex tools that allow us to be smarter about which patients are actively infected, which patients may have recovered from an infection and therefore could be really safe as donors without transmitting the infection to the recipients,” Friedman told CBS2’s Dr. Max Gomez.MORE NEWS: New Procedure Offers Hope For Children With Rare Genetic Disorders Like AADC Deficiency
In fact, several studies have reported safely transplanting organs from donors with very early or very late stage COVID, again by taking certain precautions. Even so, we still need more people to sign up to become organ donors.